Palatine Hill : Rome

Palatine Hill : Rome

The Palatine is a working archaeological site adjacent to the Roman Forum.  The ticket for the Colosseum entitles you to enter these sites as well.   We didn’t know that until we had stood in a long queue for an hour, in the boiling hot sun – only then did we notice people entering a separate entrance with the same ticket as ours.  Stupid us !!!!   So, by the time we got in, we were hot and bothered anyway .. and stupid me, again, forgot to take a photograph of the remains of the original city wall, right there, where had stood for so long 🙁   We went back to that very spot two days later with the Trafalgar Tour to visit the Colosseum and for our group photo, the bus parked right at the ancient city wall – I again didn’t think to take a pic, as I thought I had already done so, seeing we’d been standing there for so long  !!!!!!!  No matter .. !!


Palatine Hill is the centremost of the Seven Hills of Rome and is one of the most ancient parts of the city.  Recent excavations showed that people have lived there since 1st century BC.  It what where emperors and aristocrats resided.  “The ruins range from the simple house in which Augustus is thought to have lived, to the Domus Augustana, the public and private wings of the luxurious palace built by Domitian.”


From the path above, one gets a great view of the Arch of Constantine and Colosseum …


Romulus and Remus were the twin sons of Rhea Silvia, daughter to King Numitor.  Amulius, Numitor’s brother seized power from Numitor, killing all male heirs and forced Rhea Silvia to become a vestal virgin.  She conceived the twins by the god Mars, or by the demi-god Hercules.  Once born, Amulius abandoned them to die in the river Tiber.  The river carried them to safety, where they were found by a she-wolf, who suckled them and brought them up on Palatine Hill.  Here Romulus killed his brother over a dispute on where to build a new city … Rome.  Traces of mud huts dating back to 8th century BC have been found on the hill.  Unfortunately many areas on Palatine Hill were closed to the public, as it is a working site … this was one of them.

We didn’t have a guide therefore walked around on our own, relying on info boards which were easy to follow.  I didn’t even have my guide book (found it cumbersome in my camera bag .. a water bottle was more important!) It’s a place I would love to explore again.  I picked up snippets of history from various guides talking to their groups .. very interesting indeed.   Not sure whether I’ve mentioned this before but our Trafalgar Tour didn’t include a tour of the Forum and Palatine 🙁

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Our walk-about begins … resting under shady trees and filling our water bottles with fresh ice cold water from the centuries old fountains ..


View of the Roman Forum’s 10th century church of Santa Francesca Romana with bell tower and Arch of Titus ..


Better of view of Santa Francesca Romana with ruins of Basilica of Constantine and Maxentius – the Forum’s largest building – used for the “administration of justice and conducting business”


Part of the Roman Forum below the wall ..


Glimpse of  San Bonaventura, a 17th century convent church ..



Walking up to the Domus Flavia .. ruins of the vast Emperor’s palace built by Domitian in AD81 ..





The courtyard surrounding the fountains were lined with mirror-like marble (the watery blue area), so Domitian could spot would-be assassins ..


Modern looking building seemed to be an exhibition centre


Reference to our Cape Peninsula !!!   No idea why .. I didn’t see any plumbago growing anywhere !!



Searching through info on the internet I found this photograph … such a pity it’s now unkempt …  (maybe there used to be plumbago growing there ..  somewhere.   I don’t see it in the photograph either )


Moving on ..



Stadium – part of the Imperial palace.  It was possibly used as a racetrack, or just a large garden.   Eavesdropping on a guide, she said the circular area was possibly the emperor’s private garden ..


The ‘exedra’ of the stadium may have housed a balcony ..


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San Bonaventura – 17th century convent church …

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The other side of Palatine Hill has great views.  Part of the Forum is below …


A little precarious .. you have to walk out on the scaffolding to get the great views  !


I wanted to see the Farnese Gardens and followed signs and paths but couldn’t really find them.  Realising now, what I kept finding were overgrown areas, which were in fact remnants of the gardens.  Created by Alessandro Farnese in 1550, the gardens were built on top of the ruins of Tiberius’s palace.  Many areas were fenced off which didn’t help my quest!!!   What we found were the Boni Gardens, which is a restored part of the Farnese Gardens, created by Giacomo Boni at the beginning of the 20th century.  He is buried here …




View of the Forum and the city of Rome beyond, from the gardens ..



Neronian Cryptoporticus :  (from an information board) – ” The Crypt is one of the most distinctive monuments of the Palatine.  It is an underground corridor, 130 metres in length, illuminated by basement windows.  (very dark in the longest tunnel so couldn’t get decent photographs)   It connects the Domus Tiberiana to the House of Livia.  This covered passageway served to link the different parts of the Imperial Palace in the Jurio-Claudian period.  Originally the vault was covered with white stucco, depicting cupids within decorative frames.  Only a few fragments remain.  While this stucco decoration has generally been dated to the age of Nero, it probably relates to the an earlier period, the first half of the 1st century AD.”




The House of Livia is to the right (also fenced off behind where I’m standing – but I think you can access it from another entrance)  It’s a 1st century structure now below ground level which formed part of the residence of Augustus and his second wife.  Apparently there are a number of mosaic pavements and wall frescoes ..


I couldn’t help but touch the original bricks which I found fascinating.  All the brickwork in these ancient sites is small and neatly stacked ..



This is a place I would return to … on a cooler day 😉

Next stop …  the Roman Forum

3 Replies to “Palatine Hill : Rome”

  1. I don’t really know what to say cause I have said it so many times before. The history overwhelms me. I would just want to touch those old structures and stones to let the historic vibrations flow through me. Oh how I wish I could go and see all this.

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